Networking 2.0

Posted on: August 14th, 2012 by Laura Etheridge No Comments

Thank you for joining me for the third instalment of my Print Blog. These last two weeks have gone really quickly and I’ve started to get quite busy building a lovely customer base, which makes the time absolutely fly by! As you’ll know by now if you’ve been kind enough to follow my blog, I am the new girl on the print block at Essential Print Services.

I’ve written other blog entries including a Challenge Anneka style blog and a Print Angel introduction; do feel free to pop along to those pages for a read.

What’s new with the Print Angel this week?

Well, this week I’d like to broach the topic of networking. I’ve never before been put into the networking world by an employer and when it came to having to attend a networking event to represent Essential Print Services, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was given a brief: To create a 60 second pitch… Words that may well put fear into anyone’s heart. This means I have to stand up in front of a room of professionals and pitch who I am and what I do – ALL ABOARD, PANIC STATIONS!

For those of you who are new to networking, let me explain a little about the concept. Networking involves meeting like-minded professionals at weekly, fortnightly or monthly meetings in order to discover more about each other’s businesses.

Attention new networkers!

Do not, under any circumstances, confuse networking with ‘I need to sell my product/service to the room.’ This is the most important piece of advice I have been given about networking. It is more about getting together with fellow business professionals to share and discuss ideas and hopefully, passing business referrals. This is whereby you put businesses that may benefit from each other’s products and services in touch with each other – I prefer to think of it like being a fairy godmother of the professional world.

A common misconception and I speak from experience because it was very much one of mine, is that you might feel like networking is something for super-confident types who are great speakers and flawless presenters. Absolute nonsense. You’re not too shy to network…  All you have to be is comfortable with talking to other human beings about your business – if you’re not, you may now start to worry.

So, how did my first 60 seconds go?

Well, I’ll be honest I was shaking with nerves, I felt like I raced through it a little and my heart was beating a lot faster than usual. But I got through it! And in my own little way, I felt proud to have done it. Networking events are nothing like I thought they would be. Some of the groups I have attended, such as the Hallmark Business Group and Derby Hub, have been full of lively, dynamic and interesting individuals with a contagious passion for their business and some fantastic, innovative ideas to share. I find that these people are more than happy share advice too.

I’m not saying I don’t get nervous at networking events now, there’s always a touch of nervous excitement – but as soon as you realise that these events are full of people just like you who want to gain the same things from the events that you do, then you’ll be just fine. Sure, you can network online – but it can never completely replace getting out there, meeting people and building face-to-face relationships.

If you want to take your first step into networking, let me know and I would be happy to invite you along with me as a guest to one of the casual, no annual fee membership events that I attend. Or if you are a networking veteran and you’d like to extend me some further tips or words of wisdom, please do!

As always, I’d welcome any feedback or a quick ‘hello’ so email me at laura@essentialprintservices.co.uk

Thanks for reading.



Derby Hub – why local businesses need to get involved.

Posted on: February 4th, 2012 by Yvonne Gorman No Comments

Yvonne Gorman, Owner of Essential Print Services explains why her business is involved in local Business Networking, in particularly, Derby Hub;

“Networking has always been essential for my company’s growth and support. It continues to be an integral part of my marketing mix. The majority of my new clients originate from networking groups that I have attended. It is clear, that the more involved I become, the more my business gets out of it, not just in sales but in support too. You have to be genuinely enthusiastic for the group and want to help others. People can soon spot a ‘phoney’ or a ‘hunter’- someone who is all too keen to slap their business card in your face and want to sell to the room.

For me, networking is all about creating relationships and bona-fide business partners. A place I can find business owners who I can help and collaborate with. Networking is a great forum for finding credible suppliers – let’s face it, someone is less likely to be underhand, if they have to face you on a regular basis. A bad word will spread like wild fire amongst a networking group.

Derby Hub

When I was asked to be on the Committee for Derby Hub in October last year, I was delighted to accept. Derby Hub offers an informal meeting place for business owners and established companies to meet on a regular basis, share contacts, referrals and generally help each other out.

Their ethos is ‘sharing business excellence’ and the members do just that. Whenever I’ve asked, ‘can you help with….?’ or ‘do you know someone who…?’ I can guarantee that I’ll walk away from the meeting with a handful of contacts and free advice. During their weekly meetings, members give a short commercial about their business – just a minute or two. At the end, that member or visitor is encouraged to give the group one business tip or piece of professional advice. This is the part of the meeting I enjoy the most, because you often get to see a different side of people and get a good idea about their personal beliefs and views.

Derby Hub’s monthly events are fantastic. The next one, which is later this month on 23rd February at Breadsall Priory, is set to smash all previous attendance records. That’s not just because of Derby Hub’s increasing popularity, but because they have a high calibre keynote speaker; Ex-Dragon Den Star, Rachel Elnaugh, who set up ‘Red Letter Days’ on a shoestring budget. Rachel will be sharing her highs and her lows with everyone who attends.

I’d recommend any business owner or anyone hoping to start a company, should book their ticket quickly. It will be a truly inspiring event.

To see what their event was like in January, take a look at this video: Derby Hub Video

If you would like to discuss Derby Hub, or business networking in general, I’d welcome a conversation with anyone.”

For more information about Yvonne’s business networking experiences or about Derby Hub, email von@essentialprintservices.co.uk.

 




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